The Associated Press 5/29/01 7:22 PM WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether it is constitutional to deny a permit for a rally without guaranteeing an applicant a prompt ruling from the courts. The case involves the Chicago Park District's denial of a permit in 1997 for a planned rally in favor of legalizing marijuana. Lawyers for Robert McDonald, the applicant denied a permit, contend the city law is unconstitutional because there are no provisions for a hearing -- either before or after the permit is denied. They contend that rallies on topical subjects would have no meaning if subject to long court delays. This, they contend, would violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech. Lawyers for the Chicago Park District argued that the city law has constitutional safeguards. The permit denial must be in writing, set forth the grounds for denial and allow the applicant time to correct any problems. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that in cases of prior restraint of speech, quick access to the courts is guaranteed, but a quick decision is not. Other appellate courts have said the Constitution requires not only fast access, but also a quick decision. McDonald's lawyers asked the Supreme Court to resolve the conflict. The case is Thomas and Windy City Hemp Development Board v. Chicago Park District, 00-1249.